The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who have sought to distance themselves from the British royal family, are expecting a baby, a spokesperson for the couple has said.
Harry Mountbatten-Windsor and Meghan Markle are preparing to welcome a brother or sister for their young son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.
The news comes after the duchess had a miscarriage in the summer of 2020, and just days after she won a privacy case against Associated Newspapers Limited.
A spokesperson for the couple said: “We can confirm that Archie is going to be a big brother. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are overjoyed to be expecting their second child.”
Queen Elizabeth II and the rest of the royal family were said to be "delighted" at the news. A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "Her Majesty, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales and entire family are delighted and wish them well."
It is understood the couple told the royal family in advance of making the news public. Ms Markle’s due date has not been revealed.
Ms Markle revealed her miscarriage in November last year in a deeply personal article for the New York Times, writing: “I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second.”
The couple quit their roles as senior working royals in March 2020 in a quest for personal and financial freedom, and now live in an £11 million house in Montecito in California.
The Valentine’s Day announcement came just five days after the royal family celebrated the arrival of Princess Eugenie’s first child – a baby boy.
The new baby will be the queen and the Duke of Edinburgh’s 10th or 11th great-grandchild, depending on whether he or she arrives before or after Zara Tindall’s baby, which is also due in 2021.
In 2019, proud father Harry announced the arrival of their firstborn Archie to a press pool, and then later held his newborn son in his arms, with Meghan at his side, for his public debut at Windsor Castle.
The new baby, like Archie, will grow up thousands of miles away from the Queen, the Prince of Wales, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as well as his or her cousins Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
He or she will still be eighth-in-line to the throne – and the most senior royal in the current line of succession to be born overseas. – PA